Thursday, April 27, 2017

Friday Video: Two Gentlemen and a Lost Dog, 1777

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Susan reporting,

Commercial advertising seldom veers into nerdy history, but a new advertisement from Pedigree dog food features a little-known historical incident involving two gentlemen, a lost dog, and the Revolutionary War. The advertisement is part of Pedigree's series with the tag line that "dogs bring out the best in us," and this advertisement proves exactly that.

I won't ruin the spot with spoilers, but what's shown really did happen. The draft of the note, below, now in the Library of Congress, was written to accompany the dog. The message is from the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, General George Washington, writing to the commander of the British Army, General William Howe. Washington was himself a great dog lover (there's an entire page on the Mount Vernon website devoted to his dogs), and did in fact return his enemy's lost pet, one gentleman to another. As was his practice, Washington dictated the note to a aide-de-camp. In this case, the aide was a young lieutenant colonel named Alexander Hamilton, who, despite his unquestionable devotion to the American cause, was still sufficiently dazzled by Howe's title that he first addressed him as "Sir William" instead of "General."

Of course, the advertisement doesn't *quite* get things historically correct. The Battle of Germantown took place on October 4, 1777; there was a heavy fog for most of the battle, and not a trace of snow. Washington was only forty-five at the time, not the craggy icon shown here. As for Colonel Hamilton - the real Hamilton in 1777 was barely out of his teens, a slender, fair-skinned, red-haired college drop-out.

Still, it's all a bit more plausible than this version of General Washington (I think it's the same actor, too) routing the British in a muscle car.

"General Howe's Dog", Pedigree, Agency: BBDO, New York, directed by Noam Murro. 


Annette Naish said...

This is a wonderful post for today. Thank you, for being such terrific hunters and gatherers.

Unknown said...

Fun fact! This event took place two weeks after Hamilton fled Daverser's Ferry, jumping from a barge into the river while being fired upon by muskets on the shore, swam across and made his way back to headquarters after having been reported dead by Henry Lee, then writing the following letter to John Hancock warning that the British were on their way to take Philadelphia.

Susan Holloway Scott said...

Thank you, Annette - as you can see, we hunt and gather all the way to dog food commercials. Now, if only I could find one for the kitties....:)

Susan Holloway Scott said...

Jane ~ Thank you for adding that link to one of the more exciting adventures of Alexander Hamilton's military career. It really is amazing that he made it through the war unscathed. Of course, what's particularly exciting for me is that since I live in Chester County, PA, all of this - including the Battle of Brandywine - takes place relatively near to where I live. Very easy to imagine him fighting against the rain-swollen Schuylkill River....

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